31 August, 2008

If You're Looking for Me This Week...

I'm not here.

I'm working Monday through Saturday this week. Fifty hours. On the bright side, for most of the week, I'm only working 8 hour shifts. This means I can sleep in a little and come home not completely exhausted.

Since today was my one day off, I filled it with important business:

* Went shopping (had a "spend $50, get $25 back coupon) for clothes, bought 2 shirts and 3 pairs of pants. Yeah, spent more than $50. Also, I was supposed to be getting work clothes. At least I got 1 sweater and 1 pair of pants.

* Had lunch at Chipoltle. I'm still trying to find a meat filling that isn't too spicy for me. So far we've ruled out the shredded beef and the chicken. And I think the pork tastes like wet dog. Maybe vegetarian is the way to go?

* Saw Dave's new house. I'm jealous!

* Cleaned out the old clothes that were in the broken/un-openable drawers of the old dresser.

* Cleaned out the closet. (hey Mom - I have a ton of stuff for you to go through if you're interested)

* Washed clothes. The second load of laundry is in the washer, with maybe one more to go. Priority? Work clothes. I don't have 6 pairs of pants that are presentable, so Scott will be washing some more on his days off.

* Also, 5,132. And that's all I have to say about that!

Not getting done today:

* Haircut. We're getting to the critical level here, so I'm going to have to bite the bullet and go before work one day this week.

* Moving the new dresser in and the old dresser out. I'm not strong enough to move either on my own. (yes, even cheap particle board is heavy!) That's also on the "some day before work" agenda.

30 August, 2008

Scott's Birthday Weekend-o-Fun

Scott's birthday weekend-o-fun '08 wasn't really jam-packed with activities. Well, not with planned activities. But we had fun.

Monday: This wasn't actually part of the weekend, because Scott had to work. We went to lunch at our favorite Japanese place, courtesy of some unexpected cash I received at work. After Scott left for work, I went shopping, made the cupcakes, and wrapped his one small present.

Tuesday (post midnight): I was on the phone with Scott while he was driving home from work, so I knew when he was close enough for me to light the candles. When he walked in the door, I yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY and he blew out the candles and we had cupcakes. And he opened the present - the second CD soundtrack to Moulin Rouge. (by the way, home made frosting rocks my socks off)

Tuesday (morning): I made cinnamon pancakes (with cream cheese frosting, which also works as a dip for apple slices) and "bellinis" for breakfast. And then, after all that sugar and booze, we took a nap.

Tuesday (afternoon): We Voted! Then, dinner at Bonefish Grill, followed by shopping at World Market and Barnes & Noble. Oh, and grocery shopping.

Wednesday: Trip to IKEA. Scott finally got the pot he's been coveting, and I got the cheapest dresser they have (and let me tell you - you get what you pay for!) and 2 night stands. We also got some random odds & ends.

After IKEA, we headed over to Universal CityWalk. We had some time to kill before the show, so we had margaritas outside of Margaritaville, and then had dinner at PastaMore. Yum - I love this place. I'd go all the time if it didn't involve paying Universal's ridiculous $12 parking fee! And after dinner, it was time for...

Blue Man Group!

I'm not even going to try to explain the show. The best I can come up with is this: complete sensory overload. It was crazy in the best possible sense. I really thought this was one of those "you should see it once" shows, but it turns out it's an "I want to go back tomorrow" show. We both loved it.

And thus concluded Scott's birthday weekend-o-fun. After the show, we went home and put together the dresser (it's still in the living room, along with the boxes for the other two pieces). Of course, we haven't finished the cupcakes. And there's still a tub of frosting in the fridge. I guess the weekend will live on a little while longer after all...

26 August, 2008

Hey Scott?

The cupcakes are devil's food (Duncan Hines) with cream cheese frosting (2 bricks of cream cheese, 2 sticks of butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla beaten until my elbow went numb from my lack of stand mixer. that's right baby... from-scratch frosting!).

The cookies solved two problems for me: my inability to properly ice cupcakes and the fact that the only icing (the kind to write with) in the house was white and wouldn't show up against my white frosting.

Did you know a box of cake mix makes two dozen cupcakes? Well I actually exercised a little sense and only frosted the ones I needed for presentation. The rest of the cupcakes are in a freezer bag on the counter, and the remaining 2 cups of frosting (did I mention the 4 cups of powdered sugar???) are back in the fridge.

Tomorrow, we may be having cinnamon pancakes with frosting for breakfast. Anyway...

Happy Birthday Scott!

I hope you have a fabulous birthday weekend-o-fun. And I hope you like the cupcakes!

(and I'm sorry for wasting 13 of your Oreos!)

25 August, 2008

Triple Threat

The Chefs are putting together a bulletin board and asking everyone to bring in a picture of their pets. Apparently my cats got the memo and posed for some great ones today. Now I need some serious help picking a favorite:

In that last one above, Kilo actually has his arm around Elphie. And below are two pictures I took last night. I love them both so much I imagine one of them will probably end up in a frame before too long (at the very least, a magnetic frame on the fridge).

22 August, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemons... more gratuitous cat pictures on your blog!

(what? That's not what you do?)

Well now that I know that what I'm suffering from is called "FAY-tigue," I feel as though I'm better-equipped to deal with myself. Actually, that's not true at all. I had a crappy day: didn't want to get out of bed, didn't want to go to work, didn't have anything to do once I got to work (and ended up going through binders and coming up with an 8" stack of things to shred), then had unpleasant dealings with The Boss and Girl Chef (am grappling with a way to say "get your s--t together and anticipate things before they become catastrophes" that isn't insubordinate), had cabin fever in my office, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera (in my best "King and I" voice).

But now I'm home and am surrounded by my three favorite furballs. Yep... all is right with the world. (of course, the Orange Fanta/vanilla ice cream float may have helped a little too)

Milo's goopy eye, recorded for posterity. I take it as a good sign that today's eye boogie seems to actually be remnants of yesterday's - nothing really close to the eye.

Elphie attacking blanket fringe. Milo was there a few seconds before, and they were both up on their hind legs sparring like a couple of meerkats, but I wasn't fast enough with the camera. Darn!

I realized tonight that Kilo's coat is a lot shinier than it has been in a long time. His dandruff seems to be going away, too. I think as much as each of us (except Milo) likes to claim Elphie as "mine," Kilo has gotten the most out of her presence here. (and don't make fun of my 5-year-old pajama bottoms! they're comfy!) Maybe all that playing will cause him to lose some weight.

The creepy faceless kitten! Seriously - there's the eyes, but where's the rest?? I guess I'll have to work harder on my Elphie action shots. In this picture, she's attacking the mouse-tail-on-a-string (a story for a whole 'nother post) that you see in the very top of the picture. It's one of her favorite playthings.

Fay Fay Go Away

It's still raining.

Tiny Snack

Perhaps I should feed Kilo a little more. Then he wouldn't resort to eating the kitten!

They really are playing... honest!

20 August, 2008

The Angry Old Man

So... Milo has an ouchie eye. Last night I wiped of a giant green eye boogie and noticed that he was winking an awful lot. Too late to worry about it, Scott and I decided to table our (my) angst until today. He seems better today, except for the fact that he looks like Iron Eyes Cody at the end of that commercial. Seeing him cry, even though he wasn't really crying, made me positively ache!

Mah babay! What if he loses his eye? The other cats will never let him keep his alpha cat title with one eye... Plus, the internet is tough on the nerves. Every "cat eye injury" search basically comes back with some variation of "must medicate! terrible! bad mommy!" So we took him to the vet.

Remember when Elphie came home? He growled and hissed and swatted at anything that moved near him. But he cooled down, and now we all love each other again.

(yes, that's foreshadowing)

Well Milo didn't want to get in the kitty carrier. So we picked him up by the scruff and dropped him in feet-first. He didn't like the car trip, but managed to get through it with only a little noise. He didn't like the EFFING IDIOT mother with three kids (one shoeless... at the vet!) and a cat with no carrier. As soon as their cat hissed at Milo, I had Scott turn the carrier around so that he could watch the people in the other side of the waiting room.

You know what else Milo didn't like? The girl who tried to take him out of the carrier so that we could weigh him. He scared the crap out of her and she slammed the door back in his face. He didn't like it when I dragged him out and plopped him on the scale. He was so angry hissing and growling that the girl went to get reinforcements.

Of course, it didn't help that the nice cat mentioned above was getting either blood or something equally traumatic and was howling like it was his last moment on Earth.

The "reinforcement" turned out to be the vet. She wouldn't go near him either. So she literally looked him in the face from about a foot away and said that she didn't think it was too bad (he's been keeping it open for the most part) but that she was going to give me some ointment to put in it. Every 2-3 hours. No, not drops, ointment! "Just squeeze a ribbon right along the bottom lid."

Scott and I laughed all the way home!

OK, we didn't really laugh. But I didn't really tell him what what was in the little bag until we were in the car. I didn't want him to curse in front of the kids in the waiting room! And then maybe we laughed a little. So, "bad mommy" that I am, I have decided to wait until tomorrow to make sure the eye is healing. If not, we're going to wrap him in a few dozen blankets, one of us is going to sit on him, and the other is going to squeeze goo into his stretched open eye.

This is SO not funny...despite the fact that I am laughing out loud and interrupting Scott's chicken prep.

So back to the vet: This is the same office we took Zoe to when she bashed open her head. This time, we saw the other vet. She said that if his eye doesn't get better, we should make an appointment to come in earlier in the day because they don't sedate in the afternoon. That's right - I have a cat that needs to be sedated. She said sometimes it's just the first trip, and they're not vicious when they come back.

She called my baby vicious!

Sure, he attacked a little kid earlier this year. But her parents told her to leave him alone. Sure, we joke about him killing Kilo. But that's all in jest. Sure, he bites. But only when he doesn't want to be pet anymore. He's my baby. Vicious? I feel like my kid just got labeled with ADD and I never thought he acted out at all!

On the bright side, since she never actually touched him, we didn't have to pay for the exam. Just $11 for the ointment we'll hopefully never have to use!

Storm's A Comin' Back?!?

Oh for the love of Pete!

So what you're telling me is that I should expect intermittent rain between now and Friday at the earliest?

I miss the blue sky already.

This photo was taken at sunset last night. The sky was the most peculiar shade of orange-ish-purple. Currently it's just plain gray.

18 August, 2008

Storm's A Comin'!

You know what my favorite thing to do on my days off is? I enjoy sitting on my tush and watching movies. If I didn't have to, I don't think I'd even leave the house most days. So there's a good portion of me that's quite pleased to see that we're going to be under water on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There's also another part of me that says "landfall at Ft. Myers? That's where Aunt Rose is!" And there's part of me concerned about Scott's family out in Polk County. And there's part of me worried about ME. Sure, there's no huge risk from tropical storm winds and flooding if you live on the third floor. Our roof survived all of the '05 hurricanes just fine. And inland, most of the fatalities are from driving when the authorities specifically told you not to.
I got Scott out of bed early* today (after he worked until around 4 am) to go grocery shopping so that we would have no reason to risk life and limb tomorrow or Wednesday. It was crazy! The store was certainly more prepared than I was planning to be. They took out the aisle of tacky tourist crap right in front and replaced it with a WALL of cases of little water bottles. The next aisle set up was all canned goods - tuna, vienna sausages, canned pasta, etc. It really wasn't any busier than when we usually shop, but maybe it just felt like that because they had more than half the registers open for a change.
Speaking of shopping early, I am ashamed of our trip today. We didn't eat before we left, so we ended up with oreos (hey - they were on sale, and who knows how long those banana ones will be around?), chips and dip, and some other random junk foods. Oh, and a bottle of cheap champagne for local news-related drinking games. We were going to get subs for lunch, but the local fire department made a line 6 deep. Apparently they felt the need to "rescue" the lunch meat. So instead we stopped at KFC on the way home.
So if the power goes out, we're good for a few days with cold chicken, cookies, cereal, junk food, and tuna sandwiches. Party at Casa ParkHopper!
Well, wish us luck. And take care of yourselves too!
* a little before 11:00

14 August, 2008

King of the Rock?

Nah... I think Princess of the rock is more appropriate!

I'll be honest: Scott put Elphie up on the top shelf of the climbing tree. Don't judge us too harshly - it's just that none of our cats ever climbed higher than the second shelf. We wanted to see what she would do. She sat, she lounged, she played with the pull-string on the blinds. I think it's safe to say she liked it. Confirmation of this fact came within a half hour when we both sat stunned (my mouth agape) watching her do this:
She's climbing! And this isn't normal cat-in-a-tree climbing with claws. She's climbing this thing* like a freaking ladder! The wires aren't that thick - I can't believe she enjoys climbing it. But we witnessed her doing it three separate times. Luckily, she doesn't seem too freaked out by the height - she also jumps down from 5 feet up when she's done.
My guess? She likes being king - no, princess - of the rock!
And Mom, to answer your question, I really don't know how they get along. I think the relationship looks quite healthy and happy. They certainly don't cuddle, but the boys seem to take turns chasing and being chased by Elphie. Kilo gets her on her back and bites her throat and her belly, but she doesn't fight/bite/scratch/yell so I'm guessing it's no rougher than when I "attack" her belly. We watched her last night jump off the "coffee table" (see below) straight onto Milo's head, and then they chased each other around for a while. It's more fun to watch than the Olympics.
Also, the Olympics are more fun to watch when you have a kitten stretched across your chest or curled up next to you.
Hell, everything is better with kitten.
*"This thing" is one of Scott's two plant shelves made of cubes. Formerly found on the balcony, they moved inside on Sunday due to impending exterior painting of our apartment building. The painting was slated for two full weeks, but the notice said 2 final coats of colored paint, which is what I believe they put up today. Who knows? The other plant shelf is currently in the middle of the living room, laying flat, acting as temporary coffee table/cat bed (there's a blanket thrown over it).

11 August, 2008

Two Weeks

Admit it - none of you thought you'd see these pictures this soon!

Mom, I believe that bottom picture is your new desktop!

So I guess we're not as stupid as I thought. Things are going ok. Really ok! She loves to use Kilo's tail as a toy. Milo and Elphie still have a relationship that's not as close as one would believe from the photos, but it's obvious that he tolerates her. Kilo adores her. The other day I caught him positively doting.

I can't wait for the day I catch them all together in one picture without the benefit of a full food bowl.

We babysat today, and her brother Gizmo has gotten huge! The others are still about Elphie's size. Poor Kevin - they're still using her as a partial food source! Of course, my baby is definitely the cutest and the best behaved... though it's possible I may be biased.

10 August, 2008

Who Wants Pictures???

Maybe once I get a day or two off I'll be able to form coherent paragraphs. Until then, here's some pictures:

Yep, that's her head (complete with tongue!) in my water glass. I don't think I've had a water to myself in the past 2 weeks. Yep, I let her do it. The other cats drink my water when I'm not looking - what's the difference?

And for my next trick, I'm going to show you two photos taken just about a year apart. You've all seen the first one before - it was taken at last year's work party. The second one just goes to show that you're never to old to drink 2 glasses of champagne at once!

(and no, Mom, I was never in any danger of getting myself fired or mortally embarassed.)

08 August, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Serious

I read this article in Reader's Digest yesterday and literally broke out in a cold sweat. Why? I think this paragraph sums it up (emphasis mine):

Maura Gillison, MD, a researcher and professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, was among the first to study the link between the growth of head and
neck cancers among younger nonsmokers and certain types of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV)
. It's the same virus that causes the majority of cervical cancers and warts. The risks are scary because the virus is really common, even in teenagers. Twenty million people in the United States have some form of HPV, and over six million more get it every year. It can be transmitted through oral sex, and both men and women can be infected. Of the more than 35,000 people who will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, 25 percent of us will connect our diagnosis to HPV infection. As my treatment continues, I'm struck by how nobody seems to know about any of this.

OK, I know it now! So... is there a test? Can I get a PAP stick stuck down my throat? Sadly, according to their online extra, the only test is a biopsy on existing cancer can tell whether it is related to HPV. It looks like a test is in the works.

I sure hope so... I can't fathom losing part of my tongue, losing my ability to speak, to sing, to swallow... To me, that could be worse than losing my sight or my hearing.

07 August, 2008

Peacefully Coexisting

Doesn't that image just warm your heart? Two cats, enemies a mere week ago, now having a turf war over the Kitten Chow. Actually, this whole little encounter cracked me up. I managed to get her eating out of her bowl and both boys eating Cat Chow out of their bowl at the same time. Of course, then Kilo got bored and decided to bug the baby. But for one brief shining moment, I was the "cat whisperer." A golden spotlight shined down upon my head (the glare was a bit much for Scott) and a chorus of angels sang my praises.

...and then after their dinner, Elphie brought me back down to earth with a little reminder:
I'm still your evil monkey kitten, and you can't resist taking pictures when you should be using the squirt bottle.
It's true. I'm weak. But could you resist her?

Also? She spent the night in the living room. I am so well rested today!

05 August, 2008

Shopping, Dining and More!

What's a girl to do when she has a work party to attend and nothing sparkly or cleavage-revealing to wear?

Go shopping!

And what did I find?

Yeah, something sparkly and cleavage-revealing! OK, you can't really tell from the picture, but the entire neckline of the pink top is lined with tacky pink rhinestones and little fake pearls. That shirt is actually a halter, thus the conservative-a-fying black cardigan. I tried on the ensemble in the store, and told the sales girl that I love it, but that I don't really have great fashion sense and maybe they shouldn't go together at all. She made SUCH a face. And she actually said she thought the jeweled neckline didn't go with the sweater at all. But my concern was about doing the "layered" thing with the pink hanging out the bottom. She said that was fine. So I bought it.

I also got a pair of black dress pants and an orange silk tank with a cute pleated-ish neck line. For the party, I wore the tops above with a black skirt and then casual-ized it with my standard black sparkly flip flops.

I actually got a lot of compliments on the look, and my stock response was always something in the neighborhood of, "I got drunk and bedazzled the hell out of it this afternoon." I am really sad that the sparkle didn't show up in any of the pictures. However, I do get points for having on more color than most people.

I'm not going to talk about the cast party, except to say that I had too much champagne. I did stay clothed, didn't dance on any tables, and only made a moderate ass out of myself in front of my bosses (but didn't really say much I wouldn't have said sober... just not all at one time). And that guy who interviewed me for that job that I'm 99% sure I didn't get? I smiled and said HELLO! a little too loud, and he possibly scurried away after that.

The reservations girls (a.k.a. me and my minions) with the Chef. This photo was obviously taken after I decided that I would not pose for a picture without my champagne in-hand!

The after-party was at Jelly Rolls, and when we got there (around 10), the place was still mostly empty and there was no one singing along. Hello? Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" needs me to yell "WANTED... DEAD OR ALIVE" at the top of my lungs. Most of the tables turned around to look at me and I just smiled and waved. My audience! Finally! And at the end of the song, the piano guy thanked me. :-)

After that, some of my co-workers were dancing and the security guys came up multiple times to ask them to sit down. Perhaps because they were right in front of the stage? Well, whatever! That was the closest I've ever come to being kicked out of anywhere. But all told, there were probably 20-30 of us there, and maybe 20 others who weren't us. And they (for the most part) weren't behaving too badly.

For the record, I switched to water once we got to Jelly Rolls. All the bubbles had given me wicked heart burn, and I was really worried about puking. Scott bailed out of work early to drive me and Harp Girl home. Good thing, because my throat hurts from all the "singing" I did, and I can't imagine what I would feel like today if I had stayed.

One thing I noticed last night is that the two guys who didn't have anything at all to drink probably had the most fun. Sure, they weren't dancing or "singing" - but they had a front-row seat to some pretty spectacular shenanigans... AND they'll remember more than the rest of us. On the other end of the spectrum, I behaved myself so that I didn't wake up this morning ashamed of myself. That's more than I can say for some of my other co-workers!

02 August, 2008

Happiness Is...

Last night was the first time since Monday that I got 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep. Elphie, for all her adorable quirks, is not a big fan of sleeping that long. She discovered the monsters under the covers (a.k.a. feet) on Tuesday, and it's pretty much been downhill from there. She's gotten a lot more rambunctious now that she knows her way around the house and is starting to relax around the big boys. So now she'll attack anything that moves, or that she thinks might move if she attacks it. This includes fingers, toes, furniture, walls, my beautiful shower curtain (thank God IKEA is so cheap!), and the occasional cat 10x her size!

So like I said, sleep has been fitful. We sleep when she sleeps.

Scott decided to take last night for the team, and managed to keep her occupied during her early-morning romp. The result? I had the best day I've had in years (ok, at least in the past 6 days!):

* After one snooze, I realized that Elphie was sleeping back-to-back with me. I rolled over and pet her and she purred that super-loud kitten purr that makes me forgive her for the scratches all over my hands and arms.

* Scott made scrapple and eggs for breakfast.

* God told me that he loves me**.

* Work was interesting and fairly busy, and I got to knock out a couple of very random projects and laugh at a cluster of really stupid people on my voicemail. (seriously - it was like someone hacked in and changed our outgoing message to something like "Thank you for calling The Restaurant. This is 'wildest dreams' week, so please leave your unrealistic request and we will definitely honor it." ha!)

* The Chef gave me a chicken sandwich,

* which I used to bribe Scott to come over and visit during my lunch break. He couldn't stay very long, but it's nice to spend a little time together awake.

** So yeah, about that one. As I was driving out of the apartment complex this morning, I saw two guys in bright green t-shirts talking to cars at the red light. So I locked my door. Generally, there's people who solicit donations for one charity or another (and sometimes a homeless person or two) on the other side of the street trying to get people coming out of Wal Mart and the gas station, but I've never seen them on our side of the street before and I was NOT happy.

Once I got to the light, I made a distinct effort to not make eye contact with either of the guys, who by this point I noticed had CHURCH in bright orange letters on their bright green t-shirts. I don't carry any cash, and I figured it would be better to just pretend I didn't know they were there than to turn down any donation request. One came around and knocked on my window and when I turned, I noticed a piece of paper in his hand. The words "FREE" and "ICE CREAM" stuck out to me. So I rolled down my window a crack and the guy (who, by the way, couldn't have been older than 16) handed it to me and said something along the lines of, "we're here giving away ice cream to remind you that God loves you. have a nice day." And he walked away. "Wow. Thank you!"

These guys were out handing out coupons for a free soft serve cone at the neighborhood ice cream place. Attached was a "business card" for their church that says "this is our simple way of saying that God loves you..." And you know what I did with my coupon? I brought it to work with me and told everyone that God loves me, and that I know it's true because he gave me free ice cream.

Ben Franklin may have believed "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," but I think it's ice cream!

Wasp Mafia

A few days back, Scott took on the ultimate opponent: a nest of wasps that had set up shop in the top corner of our stairwell. He used the super long-range insta-kill bug spray, and knocked out the whole family (well, what was there at the time). And yes, he did wash his hands. I made sure of it!

Thanks to the stellar efforts of our local maintenance and pest control staff, there is still a scattering of dead wasps (hornets? killer bees? your guess is as good as mine!) on the stairwell. No biggie - unlike dead roaches, dead wasps don't skeeve me out the same way.

Correction: didn't skeeve me out.

This morning, when I left for work, there was a dead wasp on the roof of my car. It was obviously not road kill - the position was off, and the body was pristine. The wasp either died on top of my car while my car was parked, or was placed there after it died. Instantly, my mind went to that scene in whichever Godfather movie that had the horse head in the guy's bed.

Are the wasps sending us a message? "Stop killing us, or we'll kill you?"

That's it - it's time to move!

That's Not Milo!

I don't know what it is with our cats and boxes... but somehow I feel that I was more surprised by this image than I should have been.